Your Home is your Castle – New Year Tips on Good Living

Your home is your castle!

In it you can:

  •     Hide yourself away
  •     Get up and go to bed when you want
  •     Stay in your dressing gown all day
  •     Open the door to Watchtower sellers, in your dressing gown, and tell them they’ve interrupted you mid-sex
  •     Wear nothing
  •     Open the door to Betterware sellers, wearing nothing, and invite them in
  •     Play loud music – and ignore the neighbour knocking
  •     Stand like the Angel of the North and shout: ‘Aaargh! Aaaargh! Aaaaaaaargh!’ –  and ignore the neighbour knocking
  •     Not answer the phone
  •     Clean and tidy when you want
  •     Eat cold baked beans, noisily, straight from the tin
  •     Finish a curry takeaway at breakfast
  •     Dress the castle with a faint whiff of curry, garlic and baked fish
  •     Fart, cough, burp and blow your nose loudly
  •     Fart quietly without having to pin it on someone else
  •     Kill yourself smoking
  •     Paint the walls purple, cerise and orange – in circles and stripes
  •     Do anything ‘naughty’ that takes your fancy
  •     Ponder life                                                        


  •     If you wish to share your castle, be willing to compromise
  •     If you rent your castle, expect eviction
  •     If your neighbour is big, you may get beaten up
  •     If your neighbours are full of wind, expect your castle to be blown down
  •     Expect the Watchtower people to ask for more detail
  •     If the Betterware seller has long, white hair and calls himself Jim, he may want to come in
  •     You’d best check out the meaning of ‘social pariah’

Happy home life to all of you in 2013!

Paul Costello © 31st December 2012


Utterly Undiscovered by Paul Costello. Comical Bed and Breakfast memoir.  

Out spring 2013. Publisher: Fineleaf Editions.

ISBN 978-1-907741-30-2


Postcard from Lapland

Hi Rufus

The Lapland Experience, they call it. But it’s only now, as the flight attendant serves up my venison pie, I’ve realised what these festive trips are really about.

At first I thought nothing of the aircraft being half empty compared with the packed journey over. Then I noticed it was the children who were missing, and started piecing things together.

Earlier, as our sleighs headed through the dense spruce forest towards Santa’s Grot, I saw hundreds of kids climbing into the trees, helped by teams of tour guides and forestry officials. When we returned, they were hanging from the branches in slings, giggling as they swivelled and swayed, and I assumed it was all part of the Experience for young children.

But it seems the Lapland Experience is no more than a trade deal between the Lapp Government and my tour company Lapp-It-Up Ltd. Believe it or not, Rufus, the children are handed over to the Lapps for decorating conifers along the tourist trail – which at seventy or eighty feet are too big for conventional decorations – and in return, under the stewardship of Mrs Claws, the Lapps supply catering for the return trip. Simple bartering – children for reindeer meat.

Quite clever, I thought. The kids are delighted, messing about in trees rather than being hustled around gift shops or Santa’s Grot, and thousands of tourists get to see live and original decorations! And to the Lapps, with vast supplies of reindeer, it makes sense to trade their delicious, slow-roasted venison pies, though I’ve heard German visitors prefer polar bear or wolf. The pie means the Experience lasts through the return journey, with the added benefit that parents can enjoy it in relative peace. I assume they collect the children at the end of the season.

The day trip was good value, I thought, for five thousand pounds, although there wasn’t a lot happening at Santa’s Grot. Santa was missing, and I found out later he takes it easy during the day, partly because he’s busy at night stocking up wholesale depots for Christmas Eve, but also because the sherry has got a hold of him over the years. I did see him leaning unsteadily on his door as we were about to head back, but something told me, ‘take care’. He had that white, long-haired look about him, and I didn’t feel at all comfortable when he winked and asked, ‘Want to see in my Grot, son?’

And Rudolph the reindeer was a bit quiet; with a nose that colour, he and Santa clearly had some kind of sherry-sharing arrangement. Not that the rest of the herd showed much interest. Donner was helping out down his grandad’s kebab shop; his best mate Dasher was more intent on wooing Vixen than pleasing tourists, not a nice experience for Vixen since Dasher was out of sorts after a stag do the night before; Comet was away dealing with supply problems for electrical gifts; the two gay reindeer, Prancer and Dancer, were having  a particularly bitchy rut; Cupid was also away, working the on/off switch for the aurora borealis; and Blitzen, the most objectionable one, was strutting back and forth, quietly sledging other reindeer with comments like, ‘You’ve got no effing chance of getting picked tonight!’

As for the elves, frankly Rufus they were more like Santa’s Little Hoodies than the Helpers we’d been led to expect. And I’m sure they’re part of a Santa scam; I heard several people reporting lost mobiles and wallets, and wouldn’t mind betting the resourceful Hoodies had pinched them for recycling to the boss’s gift store.

Since this is a night flight I’ve seen the occasional sleigh zooming past, now they’re all back at work. I even saw The Snowman heading somewhere – very moving.

Happy 2013! And can you say hello to Uncle Ian if you see him. Sad, isn’t it? His first Christmas without Auntie Fifi.

Cheers – Paul

Paul Costello © December 2012


Utterly Undiscovered by Paul Costello. Comical Bed and Breakfast memoir.  

Out spring 2013. Publisher: Fineleaf Editions.

ISBN 978-1-907741-30-2  

Popping into Nigella’s

‘I’m just popping out,’ I said to my brother, who’d popped over for the day.

‘I hadn’t noticed,’ he said.

Ha ha! But it did make me wonder, what is it with this ‘popping’? Just popping out. How exactly do you pop out? Do you vibrate like a deflating balloon or phut like a Citroen 2CV? Or emit wind in some way? Likely as not you’re planning something that might be frowned upon, and ‘popping’ makes it more palatable to the person you’re telling?

A gentle word – popping.

‘I’ll just pop into Boots – won’t be a minute.’ And no need to panic – I’m only popping in, not leaving you isolated and distraught, possibly never ever to see me again. No sooner have I popped in than I’ll be popping straight back out again. Don’t worry. All will be well.

Gentle. Like a nurse taking your temperature. No threat – quite pleasant really.

‘Just need to pop this in your mouth, dear.’

Or taking a blood sample.

‘Just a little prick, dear. You won’t feel a thing. Just popping it in now.’

‘There – all done! How brave you were!’ A bit like the marital bed, I suppose.

Then there’s the shop assistant.

‘Shall I pop it in a bag for you?’ Not put or place, slide or lower – but pop. The Greggs lady pops my Belgian bun perfectly into a bag – after the Spar assistant has popped a receipt on my Paypoint bill. Lovely!

And from her TV kitchen, Nigella urges us to pop a piece of parsley into a slow-roasting venison fricassée, as the camera pops over her contours while she pops the dish into the oven.

Gentle. But not always honest.

Can you really pop to the loo? Surely it’s in the loo? And implying that will be a gentle activity might be an outright lie.

My neighbour has a habit of popping in for a cup of sugar, but really he’s being plain nosy. I’d prefer him to tell the truth and not soften me by saying he’s just ‘popped round’. ‘I’m a bit busy,’ I say. ‘Pop back in ten minutes.’

And how can you pop something in your head if it’s unhinged?

Enough of this! Let’s say it as it is, and not make life out to be a state of nirvanic poppiness.

Don’t pop into Greggs and get them to pop your Fatty Melt™ in a bag before you pop onto a park bench to pop the Melt in your mouth. Storm in, tell them to stuff it in a bag, and gobble it down as you walk along.

No longer pop round to a friend’s house to pop in and say hello, and pop to the loo while you’re there. Be honest! Bang hard on their door and push straight past, saying you’re desperate for a wee.

And don’t let the nurse pop any old thing into your arm or mouth. Insist that she thrusts a blunt, oversize weapon into some part of your anatomy – and tells you it’ll really hurt.

Are you with me on this? Good!

Anyway, must dash. Said I’d pop over to Nigella’s.

Paul Costello © December 2012

Utterly Undiscovered by Paul Costello. Comical Bed and Breakfast memoir.  

Spring 2013. Publisher: Fineleaf Editions.

ISBN 978-1-907741-30-2